Hazardous Food Guidelines

Potentially Hazardous Foods Guidelines

Potentially Hazardous Food means any food or food ingredient, natural or synthetic, in a form capable of supporting the rapid and progressive growth of infectious or toxigenic microorganisms or the slower growth of C. Botulinum. Potentially hazardous foods must be refrigerated at or below 41°F or kept heated at or above 135°F.

A food is potentially hazardous if it is:

  1. Of animal origin, such as meat, milk, fish, shellfish, edible crustacean, or poultry, or
  2. Of plant origin and has been heat treated, or
  3. Garlic-in-oil mixtures

The following is a limited list of specific food products that have been classified to be potentially hazardous:

  • Bacon - If it has not been fully cooked.
  • Beans - All types of cooked beans.
  • Whipped butter / whipped margarine.
  • All cheese including hard, soft, ripened and un-ripened (i.e. cottage cheese). The softer the cheese the higher the water content which encourages bacteria growth.
  • Coffee creaming agents - All dairy and non-dairy coffee creaming agents in liquid form, except aseptically processed ultrahigh temperature (UHT) liquid coffee creaming agents.
  • Eggs - Fresh shell eggs, fresh eggs with outer shell removed, peeled hard-boiled eggs, hard-boiled eggs with intact shells cooled in liquid, and pasteurized or rehydrated eggs. Hard-boiled eggs with intact shells that are air cooled are not considered potentially hazardous.
  • Homemade mayonnaise, salad dressings or salad dressings prepared from a mix.
  • Melons - If cut
  • Onions - Cooked and dehydrated that have been reconstituted
  • Pasta - All types that have been cooked
  • Pastries - Meat, cheese, and cream filled
  • Pies - Meat, fish, poultry, natural cream, synthetic cream, custard, pumpkin, pies that are covered with toppings which will support microbial growth, and meringue.
  • Potatoes - All cooked potatoes including fresh, instant, and rehydrated.
  • Rice - Boiled, steamed, fried, Spanish, and cooked rice used in sushi if pH requirement is not met.
  • Sauces - Hollandaise and other sauces containing potentially hazardous ingredients.
  • Sour Cream - If the pH is above 4.6 and/or combined with other food products
  • Soy Protein - Tofu and other moist soy protein products
  • Seed Sprouts - All types
  • Tomatoes - If cut or if mixtures of cut tomatoes

This list is not all inclusive and does change with new technologies and scientific findings.

Not Potentially Hazardous Foods Guidelines

Foods which are not potentially hazardous are:

  • Hard-boiled eggs with shells intact which have been air dried
  • Foods with a water activity (aw) value of 0.85 or less
  • Foods which a measurement of acidity (pH) of 4.6 or below
  • Foods which have been adequately commercially processed and remain in their unopened hermetically sealed container
  • Foods for which laboratory evidence (acceptable to the regulatory authority) demonstrates that rapid and progressive growth of infectious and toxigenic microorganisms or the slower growth of C. Botulinum cannot occur.